Why we decided to make the switch to a modified ketogenic diet, and why you should start to think about what you’re putting into your body each day.
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This post was a long time coming. I kept putting it off because I wasn’t sure I could explain why we started eating a modified ketogenic diet in a single blog post.
But I figured I’d try to keep it as simple as possible, and will most likely break this out into a few separate posts.
Our decision to switch to a modified ketogenic diet.
First, I’ll go back about 8 months or so. Kellen had started hearing more about paleo nutrition and purchased the book The Paleo Solution, by Robb Wolf. Paleo nutrition is basically eating like our hunter/gatherer ancestors did: meat, veggies, fruit and fat. This was our first introduction to a way of eating that could drastically change some of the inflammation and digestion issues Kellen was experiencing.
Our bodies don’t have the ability to break down the gluten protein (mainly lectins), so as they travel through our digestive system, they remain intact. Large, intact protein molecules can be easily mistaken by the body as foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses. As a result of this, our immune systems try to attack these foreign invaders. (source) Our body is basically attacking itself. This is not a good thing in case you were wondering. (This is a simplistic description. It’s a lot more involved than this but I hope you get the gist.)
Fast forward 4 months, and we started to look more and more into a modified ketogenic diet. If you aren’t familiar with ketosis, it’s where your body burns fat for energy instead of glucose. So instead if needing to take in a lot of carbs for energy, your body burns fat and it’s own fat stores, thus resulting in weight loss and reduced inflammation. There are varying forms of eating keto, and we subscribe to a modified whole food-based keto diet. It’s like paleo with some additional fats.
Why we chose to drastically change the way we eat (and you can too)
Basically it all boils down to inflammation. The more we researched, the more foods we found to cause inflammation in the body.
This includes, but is not limited to:
-Vegetable oil and similar oils (canola, safflower, etc.)
-Conventional grain-fed meat
Inflammation is a cause of SO MANY ISSUES people have today, especially autoimmune diseases. Everything from IBS, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, joint stiffness, leaky gut, heart disease, cancer, sleep issues, general stomach issues and more! (source)
The more we read the more we learned that the plethora of issues people have today came about after the agricultural revolution and the invention of grains (wheat, barley, rice, oats, etc) and corn (corn is both a veggie and a grain. It acts much like a grain when it enters the body. Fascinating, I know.)
But I’m afraid of fat!
Did you know that your brain is made up of fat and water? Yep, the brain is the fattiest organ in our bodies. And don’t you think that because our brain is made up of fat we should probably eat fat to keep it healthy?
Here’s the thing: Not all fat is created equal! And no, your body doesn’t need glucose to live! When you’re in ketosis, your body is burning fat for energy. How awesome is that?! I’m cool with more fat burning. And really, all glucose does is give your body some crazy insulin highs and low (sugar crash anyone? Feel lethargic after eating pasta? Yeah, thanks glucose).
Fact: Glucose that is not burned as energy is converted to fat. If all the space in your liver and muscles is full, your body converts any excess glucose to fat. It’s also not a sustainable source of energy because we can only store a few thousand calories of glucose (or glycogen) at any given time. (source)
The types of fats we eat include grass-fed butter, avocado and avocado oil and coconut oil, as well as animal fats from the grass-fed meat we eat.
Why we chose a paleo/keto approach
We basically eat a high-fat paleo diet. Many low-carb diets don’t care where your calories come from or the quality of the food you’re taking in (remember Atkins?). Paleo advocates for quality fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meat and healthy fats. We just bump up the fat intake a bit and reduce the carbs (mainly fruit), to get into ketosis and burn fat, or ketones, for energy.
My husband and I do A LOT of research. I advocate for being informed and not turning a blind eye to our health (that’s why I wrote this post). We continue to learn more and more each day, and it’s truly fascinating all the information that is out there. Yes, everyone has their own opinions, but I prefer to base my health on sound science and research. And when you’re looking into where that research comes from, look at who sponsors it. So many studies out there are sponsored by big business. So keep that in mind if you decide you want to start looking into a change in how you approach your nutritional lifestyle.
If you’re looking for resources to get you started, I highly recommend The Paleo Solution, by Robb Wolf and The Keto Diet, by Leanne Vogel. They are great starting points and really helped us understand the science behind why we should make a change in our nutrition. Both authors have podcasts as well that I’m a fan of (update July 2018: Robb Wolf has actually been doing keto over the last few months and talks quite a bit about it on his podcast).
If you have any questions about starting a modified ketogenic diet let me know! I love to nerd out about this stuff!